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High School Sports

June 4, 2014

H.S. GIRLS’ TENNIS, STATE FINALS PREVIEW: Highlanders head to state as underdogs

Quarterfinal opponent has won three of last five state titles

FLOYDS KNOBS — Floyd Central knows what it’s like to be on the wrong end of a tough loss to Carmel.

Over the past half-decade, nearly every program in Indiana does.

The Highlanders lost 4-1 to Carmel in last year’s state championship match, as the Greyhounds finished 16-0 and win their third state title in five years. With five of its top seven players back, Carmel is back at state with an 18-0 mark and is expected to make it four title in six years.

The Highlanders know the odds, but they certainly don’t plan to back down.

“This team’s awesome and if we really put it in our minds that we can play how we’re capable of playing, then we really do have a chance,” said junior Alexis Applegate, who lost to then-sophomore Molly Fletchall 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles in last year’s finals.

“It will be a tough match but it’s not impossible,” said junior Erin Patterson, who played No. 2 doubles in last year’s state finals. “I’m just going in with the best attitude possible.”

With the Greyhounds expected to win another title, Floyd believes it may have the psychological advantage of low expectations.

“Last year we were really nervous, but this year we have nothing to lose,” Applegate said. “We’re just going to going in and relax and play our game and be calm and loose and have fun with it. We have nothing to lose and they have everything to lose.”

“I’m going in with the attitude just to have fun and to play my butt off,” Patterson said.

The Highlanders entered 2014 ranked 25th in the state despite playing in last year’s championship. That was because they lost No. 1 singles player Olivia Boesing, who is now playing tennis at Louisville, and top doubles’ player Whitney Batliner, who is a member of the IU Southeast tennis team. Both were All-State.

While the arrival of Italian exchange student Giorgia Rossetto certainly helped, reaching the state finals in consecutive seasons — and the third time in four years — is an impressive feat.

“It just show how great a program this is and how great our coaches are to get us back to state,” Applegate said. “To get back the second year in a row is a really big accomplishment and I’m really proud of it.”

“I think it shows how hard we work as a team and how deep we are,” Patterson added. “Yeah, we lost talent last year, but this year we made up for it in the amount of time we put in, not only in the season but during the winter and right after last season. We all worked really hard to try to get back [to state].”

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